There’s a funny thing that happens at food festival tasting events. If you run into people you know, or trade text messages, everybody asks about the must-try bites. During this year’s Pebble Beach Food & Wine, at the first Lexus Grand Tasting under the Equestrian Center big top, Jonathon Sawyer, a talented chef from Cleveland, made an exceptionally strong showing that generated plenty of buzz. Within 30 minutes, all signs pointed toward the raised stage where he twirled beef jerky bucatini to order.
The pasta, which Sawyer cleverly called “Kosher Carbonara,” featured al dente, extruded pasta twirled with savory bits of cured beef, Pecorino, cracked black pepper, chives, and tiny ribbons of farm egg yolk bottarga affumicato. Yes, Sawyer cures and smokes a bar of farm egg yolks to mimic the effects of bottarga, a process that takes three weeks. Well worth the wait. He allowed people to smell the savory results before shaving vivid yolk onto scintillating pasta, which didn’t even miss traditional guanciale.